on January 3, 2013
The basic gist of the game is that Dark Side players take control of the Sith, Imperial Navy, or Scum and Villainy, and pit their deck against the Light Side, made up of Jedi, Rebel Alliance or Smugglers and Spies, and then put all their resources towards destroying opponent objectives and skewing the balance of the Force in their favor. To win, The Light Side must destroy 3 Dark Side objectives, while the Dark Side is trying to advance the Death Star counter to 12 in order to crush their opponents into the ground; it is mainly due to the Death Star counter that makes Star Wars such an easy game to play as it acts as a built in timer that guarantees the game won't last more than 40-60 minutes (except for your first time through, learning the rules).
Deck customization is much more robust here, as players can mix and match any cards they want into their deck, so long as they include the matching objective. This allowed me to build a killer Sith deck with a few big Star Destroyers thrown in for good measure, while my opponent went more tactical with the Rebel Alliance and just Obi-Wan as a backup Jedi. Whatever way you choose to play will almost always mirror the tension and drama found in the movies. My first time through, the Dark Side player was absolutely dominating, advancing the Death Star faster and faster, and slaughtering all my characters. I finally got a lucky draw that allowed me to resurrect some fallen Jedi and through careful use of resources and a few intense battles, I snatched victory out of the Dark Side's grasp with only 1 turn left before I would have lost. It was incredibly satisfying and completely exhilarating to say the least, and gave me a rush of emotions I don't normally get from a board/card game.
While it is quite obvious that the Core Set is mainly meant to teach beginners and will be enhanced by future releases, I was a bit disappointed to see that it nearly completely ignores the "Scum and Villainy" and "Smugglers and Scoundrels" sets of cards. I realize they couldn't include everything, but since it advertises that you can choose between 6 different factions, I expected to be able to do so right out of the box.
Minor quibbles aside, I'm having a blast with this game and can't recommend it enough. While it's not as tightly integrated as some other LCGs, it does more to suck you into the universe it represents than nearly any game out there. With the first two expansions already in the works ("The Desolation of Hoth" and "The Search for Skywalker") it appears that Fantasy Flight Games is planning on supporting this for awhile, so you can buy with confidence that it's not going to be forgotten anytime soon. Plus, you can pick it up for only $30, so it's not that huge of an investment, and I can almost guarantee that if you're a Star Wars fan, you're gonna love this!
on January 2, 2013
I played the original CCG by Decipher from the day it came out until people in my area started losing interest in it (when they started making Episode I sets), and I absolutely loved that game. Wizards of the Coast got my hopes up when they obtained the license, but their TCG version was absolutely pathetic. When I learned FFG had the license and was working on an LCG, I was skeptical, yet hopeful. I've been following the development since the announcement, and now that I've had the game for a week and have played a few dozen games, I'm happy to report it was well worth the wait!
The game feels very cinematic, plays fast, and the action is always tense and exciting! The cards and counters are the usual high quality affair you would expect from a Fantasy Flight Games product. The resource system is one of the best I've seen in a CCG/TCG/LCG; and I have played dozens and dozens of them over the past 20 years. The art is fantastic! Truly top notch. They didn't make the mistake Decipher made in using real pictures, which means expanded universe cards won't look out of place, and they don't have to find an unused still from one of the movies every time they want to make a card.
I really can't say enough good things about this game. And being a Living Card Game instead of a randomized CCG/TCG means I won't have to spend a billion dollars to have the deck I want to play. Can't wait for the Hoth Cycle!
on January 4, 2013
I am very big star wars fan and had played the Star Wars CCG made by decipher for many years starting at the beginning. I really loved that card game and wish Decipher would not have gone under and continued to make it. When Wizards of the Coast took over I thought there was hope, but was sorely let down when the new TCG was terrible.
Now comes this game from Fantasy Flight and I got my hopes up again quickly. I have now played multiple rounds of this game with my wife and a couple of friends and I am really enjoying it. The first few games it feels one sided with the dark side really dominating the light side. After a while when the cards start making more sense and players really start to understand the resources and hand management, it becomes very dramatic and suspenseful. The edge battles and twist of fate cards really add to the conflicts and make it feel very much like Star Wars.
The card art is very gorgeous to look at and really represents the look of Star Wars. The deck building is also very easy especially for newcomers to card games but adds enough intricacies that seasoned card game veterans of games like the original CCG and Magic the Gathering or other LCGs, will have plenty to do to really tweak their decks.
The core set has three factions on each side and some netural cards for each side. To build a deck you start by picking the faction you will represent like the Imperial Navy or the Jedi. You then take objectives and the five cards that come with those objectives until you have ten objectives and 50 cards in the deck at a minimum. After building and playing I am reallying looking forward to the first two expansions and many more to come. I really think Fantasy Flight has another hit.
on January 23, 2013
With the X-Wing Miniatures Game and the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game already on the shelves, Fantasy Flight Games hit us again with Star Wars: The Card Game.
Star Wars: The Card Game (SWTCG) is a Living Card Game (LCG). Like a collectible card game, a LCG is a game that allows for expanding card pools, enabling players to build customised decks, but does away with the rare and promotion cards that would give a player an edge; no longer will a game be decided on who spent the most money on the best cards. LCGs keep the games competitive and balanced.
The SWTCG core set is for two players - so you can get playing pretty much straight away - and comes in an attractive box 30 x 30 cm box of hard cardboard stock making it quite robust. The collage of images on the box is from the original trilogy, Episodes IV to VI, which is the era this game concentrates on. As with all Fantasy Flight Games products, the presentation is top notch, but it's a large box that's filled with padding; inside, the cards are stored in a narrow trench behind two pieces of card and only take up about one-third of the interior, and under these pieces of supporting card - the box is 7 cm deep - is nothing. It seems like a lot of wasted space for what is essentially a collection of 117 playing cards and some tokens. It certainly grabs the attention, mind you, and that's what counts. I'm a massive Star Wars fan and it looks great on the shelf with my other stuff.
Inside the box you get; 24 cards (117 light side, 117 dark side, and 6 Force cards), 1 Death Star dial, nearly 100 damage, shield and focus tokens,1 Balance of the Force token and the Rulebook. As soon as you open the box, the first thing you see is a sheet guiding you to a video tutorial on how to play SWTCG on the Fantasy Flight Games website - if you want to skip to that right now and avoid my game description below, then go to [...] you can download the rules form the same web page if you want to have a good read. Next is the 32-page booklet of rules, which is very nicely illustrated and explains the rules clearly and concisely. The tokens are push-out thick card of good quality.
And them we come to the jewel in the crown, the cards themselves. Each card is beautifully illustrated with scenes, locations and characters from the movies. Each image is wonderfully reproduced on each of the glossy 6 x 9 cm cards, and in there is the legendary Ralph McQuarrie, the man who designed the Star Wars universe and that, of course, put a huge smile on my face. Each card is extremely well illustrated and would look great in a collector's folder. There's more than 100 of them, and with other packs out to support the core game on the way - `The Desolation of Hoth' and `The Search for Skywalker' - things can only get better. This is a Fantasy Flight Games strength being turned up to eleven; their artwork and presentation has always been some of the best in the business and here are artists illustrating some of the best known images in the world. It's safe to say that the artists have excelled themselves and should be very proud, as the atmosphere and energy of the movies has been captured. There are a couple of images that aren't 100 percent, but overall the quality is impressive. Most impressive.
So, to the game. The video tutorial or the rulebook download will explain this a thousand times better than I can in the space of this review but the basics of the game are this; as the game progresses the player controlling the Dark Side is already in almost total control of the galaxy and must destroy it's enemies to finally rule over all. The Dark Side has a Death Star dial that is advanced at the beginning of each of turn. If the dial reaches to twelve, then the Dark Side wins.
The player controlling the Light Side can win by destroying three Dark Side objective cards. This takes firepower and this firepower is in the form of Unit Cards, made up of icons of the Star wars universe; characters, creatures, droids, vehicles, and starships. Event cards indicate an unexpected change with unfortunate incidents and other effects. You can enhance your cards with skills, weapons, and other items and there are other cards such as locations that can aid you. The idea is to increase your strategy, which will enable you to strike the objective cards; the quicker you do this the quicker you can launch attacks.
The system is quick and elegant and games can take around an hour. It says on the box 30-60 minutes but my first game took closer to 90 as we got ourselves familiar with the rules, but the following games were around the hour mark;' it depends on how far the Death Star dial gets. It makes for a very intense evening's play and I can easily say that the game is fun and exciting. The counters can get a bit fiddly as the playing table can be covered with focus or damage tokens and the like, which denote which cards are powered or damaged, and one cough or heavy sigh can upset things (I'm not kidding - that did happen). Also, they have to be cleared quite often and it can slow things down, which gets frustrating when the excitement levels are rising.
Star Wars: The Card Game is easy to learn, quick to set up and enjoyable to play. Each game is unique and the tactics you are able to employ are varied. There's a lot of fun to be had with this game as well the gorgeously illustrated cards which would look amazing in anyone's collection, much like the models that Fantasy Flight Games produced for their X-Wing miniatures game. There's flexibility in deck building but then there's always a level playing field. The core set will keep you going for a long time, but the game will need ongoing support to keep the game fresh and exciting.
on April 23, 2013
Prepare yourself for an epic struggle for the fate of the Galaxy. A beautifully thematic card game loaded with gorgeous artwork and pretty solid mechanics. So strap in, and join the old faces of Luke and Leia or Darth and Palpatine to assist in the saving or destruction of the Galaxy!
Five Things I Like
1. The Cards. I know that seems like a blanket statement, but I honestly love everything about the cards. The artwork of the cards is beautiful and scream proudly of the original Trilogy. The info on the cards is presented in a very clear manner, making all info easily accessible and easy to read.
2. Objective Sets. The objective sets are modeled directly after things in the Star Wars universe, and allow you to build interesting decks. Each Objective card has 5 cards that go with it. By choosing 10 objective sets you have a ready to play deck of 10 objective cards and 50 cards that make up a command deck of units and abilities. This mechanic makes the game flexible, yet not too confusing.
3. Edge Battles. I wonderful mechanic to make a mini-game within the game. Players trade blind bids back and forth until both pass. After both have passed both sides flip those cards over. The winner of the Edge Battle initiates combat first and can use the white abilities on their cards. Of course, you have to decide if tossing away a card is worth winning an edge battle for the benefits.
4. Resource System. To field units or play actions you must spend resources by putting a focus token on them. Each of your objectives has a set number of resources that can be used. There are also several cards that expand your playing field, allowing for more resources. It's a good mechanic to keep players from throwing all of their cards down at once.
5. It's not a collectible card game, mostly. One thing that always turned me off from Magic: The Gathering was the fact that the person who spent the most money, or had a lucky pack could easily over-power everyone else. Star Wars: The Card Game has fixed cards in the Core set and in their expansions.
Three Things I Don't Like
1. Named characters might be slightly overpowered. I love the fact that the primary characters are strong, but it causes a problem when one side gets several of their leaders out before the other.
2. You can only use two allegiances of each side at the time being. Both the Smugglers and Spies and the Scum and Villainy decks have too few cards to field. I understand that these cards will be released in a later expansion, and that FFG just tossed these in as a teaser. I, personally, hate that.
[UPDATE 27MAY13: I misread a rule in the rulebook. You can mix allegiances, effectively using the Smugglers and Spies and Scum and Villainy decks. I rescind this negative!]
3. Limited players. You are only playing with 2 people on this one. I know this is something that will be addressed in an expansion, but it would have been better addressed sooner, in my opinion.
Things I'm on the Fence About
1. The winning objectives. I'm not sure I like the Death Star counter. It really places a premium on the light side not letting it's objectives get destroyed or letting the balance of the force fall to the dark side.
Who would like this game?
I'd say the enjoyability of this game isn't limited to Living Card players or Star Wars fans. I enjoy both the mechanics and the thematic elements of this game a great deal. It's also quite easy to learn to play for even the most inexperienced gamers.
on October 7, 2013
Star Wars: The Card Game - 2 Players, Ages 10+, Average Play Time = 30-60 Minutes
I won't lie...I had to read the instruction manual a few times to get a grasp on what was going on. The hardest part was understanding how all of the cards were organized, though once I saw how the objective and five accompanying cards tied together, it became a bit more clear. Each card has a deck identifier number on it, as well as an X of 6 identifier, which allowed me to clearly see which cards belonged to what deck when organizing them. These little details went a long way in helping to keep the learning curve manageable.
Having played and reviewed the two Star Trek Deck Building games by Bandai, I was surprised that the card art was hand drawn as opposed to being actual movie stills. I have to say though that the card art is exceptional and full of theme. The hand drawn art almost looks like the real thing...a tribute to the artists who helped to make this game possible.
I thought it was pretty gutsy for the designers of the game to include two different objectives for either side. The Dark Side has the luxury of being able to wait things out, for their Death Star tracker will advance on their turn no matter what. If they happen to gain the Dark Side advantage via the Balance of the Force, all the better. The Light Side is practically forced to go on the offense and destroy those objectives before the Death Star tracker reaches its end. The good news is that both sides play fairly different, giving players a unique experience depending on the side they choose.
Just to name a few examples, Vinnie (12) took control of the Imperial Fleet while I took ownership of the Rebel Alliance for our first game. I had a lot of objective and command cards that did extra damage to enemy objectives. I found myself able to swoop in and do a lot of damage, though I had to remember to pay attention to each card's special ability to implement them. Vinnie, on the other hand, had more resources at his disposal and brought in the Devastator (a powerful capital ship) and a TIE Bomber. He wiped out one objective with a superlaser card and two more with his ships on following turns. Even though I had Force control throughout the majority of the game, he brought his Death Star tracker from zero to nine in no time flat. If it wasn't for special abilities and Force priority, I would have lost.
Overall, the experience was a positive one. Our first few games took much longer than the average play time called for, mainly because we were still trying to get used to how the cards interacted with one another. To that end, you'll definitely want to allot yourself some extra time during your first few games. It becomes much easier to play the more times you cycle through the cards you're used to seeing. Battles also take a little time to get used to, though I must commend Fantasy Flight for publishing a twenty minute video tutorial, which I linked below. I highly recommend watching it before attempting to decipher the manual.
"Star Wars: The Card Game" takes a little effort to understand, but is well worth the trouble. I really enjoyed seeing the iconic characters duking it out, though I did find it odd that ships and characters were treated on an equal level. This simplifies things a bit by eliminating the complexities of space and ground combat, so I found that I didn't mind as much. Still, I chuckled a bit when characters like Yoda went up against capital ships like the Devastator...though knowing Yoda, I wouldn't count him out of the fight completely. Great production values and a lot of room for expansion will keep this game exciting game after game.
Speaking of expansions, there are a number of expansion sets available that provide more decks for players to use. Some even expand the game to three or four players, while others expand on the underrepresented Smugglers and Spies / Scum and Villainy factions. Before spending any cash on them however, I'd highly recommend giving the base game a go first to see if this is a game that you can get into. It's safe to say however that Vinnie and I most certainly did.
on June 17, 2013
I've grown accustomed to any games with licenses attached to them to either be completely lame or a shallower copy of another game with a surface level change of theme. Star Wars: The Card Game, however, bucks that trend in a big way. It's a deep, but very fun game that FEELS like Star Wars, and that's a very impressive feat for a card game to pull off. Complexity-wise I'd put this between the other two FFG I've played: Android: NetRunner (more complex) and Call of Cthulu Card Game (less complex) but it's as fun, if not more so, than those two awesome games but it's not just a variant or rip-off of those or any other game that I've played. This is completely its own game, with its own mechanics, and its own feel.
Prior to conflict you do what's called an Edge Battle where you basically discard cards one at a time in hopes of getting more Force icons than your opponent (the downside is you lose those cards), and this fun bit of bluffing and jockeying is for the all-important "edge" of going first when combat resolves, then you alternate as either sides characters attack each other and opposing objectives. Between turn actions you resolve a Force Struggle, where both sides compare characters "committed" to their struggle to see if anyone gets a force bonus to their cause: Dark Side is basically trying to get to 12 of their Death Star turn marker while Light Side is trying to destroy 3 Dark Side objectives before that happens. These combined with the cards themselves, the Units, locations, events, all add up to a giving a story-like feel to the game that's just fantastic. If you like Star Wars, this game is for you...you'll like it even more. If you're one of the few that don't (why are you reading this?) but you enjoy a well-made, really fun card game then this is also for you.
on April 3, 2013
I had read very mixed reviews about this game prior to purchasing it, but went with my gut instinct (That both FFG and Star Wars The Original Trilogy are awesome) and picked up a copy. I was not disappointed. Its fun, well themed (despite what many say), and while its simple to learn, it becomes very clear after only a few play throughs that there are lots of tactical decisions that must be made on every turn that heavily sway the end results of the game.
What comes in the box?: The game comes packaged with everything you need to play. A rule book(I did find the manual a little confusing, a flaw I seem to find with all FFG games, though this could just be my inability to comprehend new game mechanics without a teacher. I recommend FFG's online video tuturial before buying or playing). Counters and a Death star dial. 4 Premade decks. Additional "Pods" (more on this later) for custom deck building. Additional cards for in game mechanics (affiliation cards, force cards).
How do you play?: The game takes place between two players, one controlling the Light side, and one controlling the Dark. Each round the dark side player increases his "Death Star Counter". Once it hits 12, the game is over, and the Dark side player wins. This means that the game has a limited time, at most, lasting 12 rounds (the death star dial can also be increased other by in game mechanics). The Light side player wins by destroying the dark side players "objectives" (cards that provide special in game mechanics and resources). The players both battle back and forth in an attempt to expedite their goals. It seems simple, but every round there are various phases take place that heavily influence how much control one player has over the other. Its nearly impossible to dominate each of these steps, as the available resources are just spread too thin. It becomes evident that there is a great deal of strategy involved in figuring out where you can sacrifice some efforts to strengthen others. Knowing when to attack, defend, hold, or bluff take relatively simple rules and make a very intense game.
Deck Building: A lot of people complain about the deck building rules. Unlike other popular card games like Lord of the Rings LCG by FFG, or Magic the Gathering by WoTC, this game does not allow you to customize by individual card. Rather, the game has decks broken down into "pods". Each deck contains 10 pods. Pods each contain 1 objective card, and 5 other specific cards. When you select a pod for your deck, you must include all the cards that are part of that Pod. While this may seem like a dumbing down of customization at first glance, it actually creates a more complex game in the end. Being forced to take the entire pod means that you have to decide if some of the good cards are worth taking, at a cost of also including some less than stellar cards. I also personally like this, as being a veteran of many card games, I know too well that the bulk of cards never get played with. They are doomed to be what some call "Binder Fodder", not competitive enough to ever include in your custom builds. With Star Wars the LCG, those cards do come into play, and you're forced to make the best out of them. It really makes things interesting, both in deck construction and actual game play. It also means you get to play with what you pay for, without weakening your deck, as both players have to adhere to these rules.
Theme: I have seen a few complaints about the theme of the game, namely that people do not like how units interact. For example, a foot soldier could defend against a star destroyer. The game makes no distinction between land, air, or space units. The idea is that these do not represent direct conflict with each other, but rather large scale battles and use of resources that are available over large areas of time and space. The game is very lucid in the imagery it draws upon, and results in having to use the imagination a bit to understand what the game mechanics are representing. I personally enjoy this. Some folks would prefer a more intricate break down of units and combat, but in previous star wars card games, this has proven to be an over complication, and I prefer how this game handles combat. Once you start to think outside the box, the game really does draw up some very interesting stories, and I feel does capture many of the aspects about Star Wars that fans love.
Re-playability: The premade decks contain hours of game play, and when you're sick of them, you can make your own decks using the extra cards that come with the box set, or reaching out to the first expansion set that was released at this time.
Quality: The cards and tokens all look great. I expect nothing less from FFG, and as usual, they have pulled through with a great product.
Summary: The game is simple to learn, difficult to master, uses great mechanics that make for a fun, creative, and imaginative experience. Its really very different from any other card game I've experienced. FFG has proven again that they are both fearless and inventive.
on April 4, 2013
I have played a lot of various tabletop star wars games- from miniatures to the collectible card game. I loved the "Epic Duels" game that came out a while back and have since been looking high and low for a game to recapture that classic star wars spirit.I heard really good things about this game from my friends and decided to check it out. I hesitated for a while since the online demo makes the game seem a bit more complicated and slow than it really is, and BOY am i glad i gave this game a shot.
It starts off slow but once the games gets going it is really intense and fast-paced. The game strategy revolves around deck building using objective sets, each with their own star-wars flavor and including iconic star wars locations, characters and vehicles (most of them from Episode IV, but a handful from the expanded universe and the prequels are nowhere in sight) This core set gives you essentially enough objectives for 4 decks based on the Jedi, Sith, rebel, and imperial factions with 2 other objectives from the scum & villainy and smugglers factions (really only included to get han solo in the core box but not terribly usable until the expansions flesh-out these factions). Start with the recomended decks but then mix and match for some deep and fun strategy. I like how the objective sets are limited to 2 duplicates and include a mix of mediocre and amazing cards to prevent a the spamming of overpowered money cards that i've experienced with some collectable games. Best of all- like all living card games- the expansion packs are pre-set so you don't have to chase valuable cards to play as your favorite characters.
My one real complaint is there is only rules for 1v1 play although rules for more players is promised from expansions down the line, but until then i will just use home-rules.
Overall a great game of the top quality I've come to expect from Fantasy Flight games
on February 10, 2014
For $30, this is a great buy and value. The game is fast pace, has a low learning curve, but high degree of complexity once you get the basics down which is great for replay value.
I've played CCG's like the original Star Wars game and Magic the Gathering for years. For those of you unfamiliar with the LCG model of card games it works like this: instead of buying packs containing random cards ad nauseam or paying a ridiculously inflated price for singles, you purchase this core set and expansions which include all of the cards in a given expansion or set. This means you never have to hunt for the awesome Darth Vader or Han Solo card and can just enjoy the game as it was meant to be enjoyed.
As for the game itself, it's very well designed and easy to understand. The rule book is comprehensive, detailed, and a great reference. However, there is a cover sheet right behind the rule book which directs you a YouTube tutorial by Fantasy Flight Games which will cover 90% of the content in the rulebook. There are some specific game mechanics that aren't covered in the video tutorial, but the rule book covers any gaps the tutorial has. Personally, I watched the video tutorial with a friend and we played through a game only needing to refer to the rulebook once during the game. For best results, I would suggest watching the video tutorial then reading the rule book.
Gameplay revolves around resource and unit management. The ability to customize decks is a great addition adding some creativity and experimental elements to the game. The core set seems to be relatively balanced between the light side / dark side and the accompanying factions meaning the games aren't lopsided.
As for the feel of the game, it has elements that make it feel epic at times - especially edge battles. While I didn't find this to be an issue, one thing to be aware of is that units all interact with each other on the same 'field' sort to speak. This means that an X-Wing could be blown up by a Stormtrooper. This might be a turn off to some people if you want something more hyper realistic, but I think its a fine compromise. In this regard, I think the FFG opted to have a smoother combat element in the game rather than a hyper realistic element.
I'll say this, as someone who played both the Decipher and WotC Star Wars C/TCGs, I like this game better because it has has the same degree complexity and strategy without the problems that plagued the other games. Namely that the Decipher game's rules where overly complex and had a steep learning curve. I also think compared to the WotC game, the idea that units operative in different arenas was overly complicated and led to blow out games.
The art on the cards is beautiful. It also helps that since the game doesn't use film shots, it should be much easier to do EU material (another problem both the WotC and Decipher games ran into).
Can't recommend this game enough.